The 10X Rule


Over the weekend, I read a book by Grant Cardone that I picked up in an airport bookstore some weeks ago, entitled The 10X Rule: The Only Difference between Success and Failure.

What drew me to the book was the notion that this “10X Rule” could be applied to every aspect of our lives – spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, familial and financial — and that what gets in the way of taking massive action towards achieving our dreams are limitations we place on ourselves that prevent us from moving beyond mediocrity. Cardone’s view is that we live in a society that is addicted to being average. We conduct research and collect data as a way to establish results that are “good enough”. This societal acceptance of “average” is exactly what inhibits us from believing what is possible, snuffing the life out of the phenomenal capacities we have as human beings, cutting off access to quantum science and thinking.

This book is for those who are inclined to think big. But if we dream too big, it’s nothing more than a set up for failure, right?

If you tend to set goals in your business and personal life that you perceive to be practical, realistic and reachable or if you are afraid of hard work, The 10X Rule may not be for you. In all honesty, as I read the book, I found myself quite uncomfortable at times. But if you’re willing to be open and don’t mind being stretched, this book could be vitally important, offering an opportunity to transform all areas of your life.

What is the 10X Rule?

In short, the 10X Rule is about taking action towards extraordinary goals – massive action. And it is about being present – living in the NOW.

In any moment — inside any action you undertake—there are four degrees of action to consider. Your choices are therefore to:

  • Do nothing
  • Retreat
  • Take normal levels of action; or
  • Take massive action

This book focuses on the latter, explaining why it is imperative to take ten times more action than you normally take inside any given moment. In other words, the first step in creating exceptional results is to set clear targets that are ten times what you think it will take to accomplish. Will this create new and different problems? Yes. But rarely do we begin our work by assessing what could be accomplished inside a full, inspired commitment. We typically default to what needs to be done. This is because more often than not, we’re not fully committed to the task at hand. As one example, when things start to fall south, it’s far easier to reduce our target and make excuses for why setbacks have occurred. The economy. Overworked staff. No buy-in from the head office. When confronted by doubts or initial setbacks, we tend to reduce or give up when what we must instead default to is more massive action, abolishing the idea that success has some sort of restricted ceiling.

You can see from this that the 10X Rule isn’t just about working at some turbo-charged pace – ten times harder with ten times as much energy and resources. It’s about changing your mindset. And with this comes two beliefs you must adopt:

  • How you view success; and
  • The power of purpose

There is No Shortage of Success

There is a general view in our society that success is something that has a limit – a ceiling through which nothing further can be accomplished. If this is your idea of success, then the 10X Rule is not for you.

In Chapter 5 of the book, Cardone claims that the way you view success is just as important as how you approach it. “You can have as much [success] as you want…and your achievement does not prevent or limit your ability to achieve. Unfortunately, most people look at success as though it is somehow a scarcity. They tend to think that if someone else is successful, it will somehow inhibit their ability to create success.”

Success is created by those who have no limits in terms of ideas, creativity, ingenuity, talent, intelligence, originality, persistence and determination. And it is not something that is acquired. Success is something that you create and sustain. It is not a destination you reach and then leave. Yet I believe that’s how most people view success: “Once I land this big project, then I will be successful” or “Once I have a million dollars in the bank, then I will be successful.” Imagine if Steve Jobs would have adopted one of these views.

Success is something people make. And “great ideas, new technologies, innovative products, and fresh solutions to old problems are all things that will never exist in shortages.”

The Power of Purpose

In Chapter 12, Cardone talks about the importance of purpose; and he speaks to this from the angle of “obsession”. While the word “obsession” comes with some negative connotations, “show me one person who has achieved greatness without being obsessed on some level. You simply cannot do it. Any individual or group that accomplished something significant was completely obsessed with the idea of it. Whether it was an artist, musician, inventor, businessman, change agent, or philanthropist, their greatness was a result of their fixation.”

You need to be passionate about your dreams and goals – even when things go wrong. What are you passionate about? Why do you exist on this planet? What is the work you are meant to do in this lifetime?

Seek to discover or rediscover your purpose. Establish the reason you wake up each day. Like a child, it’s important to imagine, dream, learn, discover, play, work and utilize your full energy for whatever captures your interest. Doing so not only deepens your commitment to what you believe to be your mission in life; it is the work of the heart. “Truly successful people agree with the sentiment that their careers do not feel like work but rather something they love to do. This is obsession at its best.”

The 10X Rule and Dialogue

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you are curious about why I am writing about the 10X Rule on a site related to Dialogue. After all, isn’t Dialogue about slowing down as opposed to putting in massive action at ten times the effort?

Yes…and no.

Getting back to the general belief that success is something that is limited, we tend to think of success from the standpoint of scarcity. Because we are taught not to dream too big, we believe that the only chance of getting what we want is to support someone who is successful; otherwise the chances of getting our share become even more remote.

“It’s extremely difficult for people to agree to disagree; people operate under the assumption that one person’s beliefs cannot be maintained if another person’s conflicting beliefs exist. This notion – based once again on the concept of limits and shortages – only increases the amount of tension we have with one another. But why does one person have to be wrong and another right? Why the need for shortages?”

Enter competition – the notion that if one person wins, someone else must lose. “This is not the reality with regard to success in business and in life. The big players do not think in terms of restrictions like this. Instead, they think without limits – something that allows them to soar to levels that many others consider impossible.”

This is what Dialogue is all about. Not having a winner or a loser. Suspending assumptions and opinions for all to observe and examine without choosing to take a side. Finding a common purpose in your team, group or organization – a shared vision – from which meaning is derived and in turn commitment is deepened. Discovering all that is possible.

I offer that Dialogue underpins massive action. To discover or re-discover your purpose – what you live for – requires slowing the cadence. Hitting the pause button so to speak. In doing this, you can assess what has happened in the past; freeing yourself to get clear on the desired future you want to create. Once that is established, the mindset you must hardwire into every moment is the true power in taking action NOW. “Show up; be all in; and trust that creativity follows commitment.”

Success – like Dialogue — is not a destination. And it’s certainly not about intelligence, economics, business savvy, what you know or think you know. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s not about winners and losers. It’s about creating new understanding – discovering possibility — and from that how taking massive action will create a life of what you are called to become.

1 Comment

  1. Nils Davis on August 19, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Very interesting ideas. This ties not only into something I’ve written about on my blog (what I call the “Order of Magnitude Rule of Thumb” – customers don’t buy products unless they provide an order of magnitude improvement in some aspect of the problem they solve), but also into another idea that’s been kicking around for me.

    You use the word “average” in the opening of this article, and I think we don’t understand very well what “average” means in the real world. We think it means “in the middle,” and it’s what you achieve by doing an “average” amount of work. To get 10x better means working 10x as hard, according to the common thinking. But the reality is that real life usually doesn’t work like this. Often working merely 10% harder (or smarter) gives you far more than 10% more results! In fact, if you study the folks who get 10x results, they often are just working an incremental amount more effectively, but because it’s “better than average” they are reaping most of the rewards.

    In the product management world I illustrate this idea as follows. If you are an average product manager, then your company is probably making about $5 million a year in revenue from your products. Say that results in a not terrible $50,000 in profits. If you become 10% more effective, everything else being equal, that means $500,000 more revenue. But because the only change is the way you work, all of that additional $500,000 flows to the bottom line as profit. Your profit is now $550,000, or more than 10x what it was – with just 10% more effectiveness!

    To me that’s the secret of the 10x – none of us can literally work 10x harder. But we can often increase our effectiveness by 10% – and that’s where our leverage comes from. Whether it’s getting to market 10% faster, or making one more sales call per day, or spending that little extra time to set up a good A/B test on your website.

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